Mercury is a complex system of interconnected parts: its magnetosphere, exosphere, and surface. How this system responds to its interplanetary (solar and dust) environment is equally complex. Numerous models have been developed to understand how solar wind particles and micrometeorites interact with Mercury’s magnetosphere and surface to modify the surface spectral, mineral, and chemical properties and to produce the planet’s exosphere. However, the reliability of these models hinges on how accurately we understand the underlying physical processes responsible for the observed properties.
This workshop will focus on identifying those physical processes whose uncertainties hinder the field’s ability to reliably model Mercury’s response to the solar and interplanetary environment. In specific, the workshop will discuss those studies in laboratory astrophysics, both experimental and theoretical, that are most critically needed in order to advance our understanding of Mercury’s system.